Meet António Oliveira, the latest Fulbright awardee working at INL

May 31, 2022

Today we introduce you António Oliveira, a student of the Doctoral Program in Physical Engineering at the University of Aveiro (UA), who has just received a Fulbright Scholarship. The Fulbright Program offers international educational and cultural exchange programs for passionate and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach, or pursue important research and professional projects and is one of the most prestigious in the United States of America (USA), that will take António Oliveira to the Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC) at the University of Delaware.

António concluded the Integrated Master’s degree in Micro and Nanotechnologies Engineering at the NOVA School of Science and Technology | FCT NOVA in November 2019. His Master’s thesis was performed at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) where he developed novel light management structures for ultra-thin chalcogenide solar cells at the Nanofabrication for Optoelectronic Applications Research Group.

Currently, António is pursuing a PhD in physics engineering at the University of Aveiro and INL with a competitive FCT PhD grant. António works on the incorporation of plasmonic/photonic nanostructures in solar cell devices, with the ultimate goal of increasing the optoelectronic performance of solar cell devices while reducing manufacturing costs.

How did you get where you are in your career path and what inspired you to pursue a career in science?

My interest in nanotechnology started in my High School years, and it was mostly due to my Physics professors, who showed videos of how technology could evolve and promoted visits to universities and to research institutes. Hence, I decided to enrol in the integrated Master’s degree in Engineering of Micro and Nanotechnologies at the NOVA School of Science and Technology | FCT NOVA. Early in the degree, I wanted to work in the photovoltaics (PV) area. A collaborative project with the Nanofabrication for Optoelectronics applications (NOA) group from INL allowed me to perform a Master’s thesis on the topic. Then, the great conditions and freedom that the NOA group provides to young researchers, allowed me to pursue a PhD in the photovoltaics area, in collaboration with the University of Aveiro.

You’ve been recently granted FCT- Fulbright Scholarship. Can you tell us how this scholarship will help your career goals and your future?

At the moment, my focus is on finishing successfully my PhD work, and my future goals of having the means to continue to conduct impactful scientific research. With that in mind, I believe that a research stay at the University of Delaware, supervised by Professor William Shafarman, and provided by the FCT-Fullbright scholarship will further help me expand my knowledge in the PV area and in significantly improve the quality of my PhD work. Furthermore, the experience that will be acquired during a research stay in a foreign country will help me mature as a researcher and expand my scientific network, which will further allow a successful career in this field.

Briefly, what is a ‘day in the life’ of António and what excites you about your work and INL?

A day in my life is not the most interesting day in the world. It typically starts by spending much of the day at INL, battling the research struggles every PhD candidate goes through. After that, I like to relax either by reading, watching a series or movie, and sometimes doing some exercise.

My PhD work in INL is based on designing and optimizing architectures that promote a better use of the incoming light by the solar cell. What excites me is the innovation possibilities of designing exotic architectures, while at the same time using low-cost fabrication techniques, so that in the not so distant future the architectures designed in lab-prototypes by NOA can be implemented in large-scale modules.

Congratulations António, the INL Team is proud of your path!